Galveston Island State Park and More
Wednesday morning, March 29 we departed our Rainbow's End RV site in Livingston, TX and drove south with the fifth wheel in tow to stay for two nights at the Galveston Island State Park on the Gulf of Mexico. We traveled to the park earlier in the week to visit friends from Minnesota, so we knew the park's basic layout ahead time. We arrived around 2PM to breezy conditions and humidity after our lunch break and a few errands along the way.
Our site #017 had partial hook-ups (electricity and water), a large concrete pad, BBQ and picnic table under a covered shelter. Very nice accommodations for two nights at $54. We visited the long white sand beach which is just a short walk away from our campsite. The waves break quite a distances from the shoreline indicating a long, shallow tidal zone. It definitely would make a great location for belly boarding. The beach was deserted except for a lone couple surfing and us. The water was busy with tidal birds and an occasional flight of Gray Pelicans flew over our heads.
Later that first evening we ventured to the western end of the island through Jamaica Beach across the bridge to San Luis Island and the town of Surfside Beach. We took the bridge towards Freeport to looking for a local seafood place for a shrimp dinner. We stopped at a bar and restaurant called La Sirenita Seafood N Grill. My goodness, this restaurant has tasty food . We ordered the Fried Calamari and the one pound (21 tails) Gulf Shrimp Boil and everything, absolutely everything came out delicious. We had the mild house garlic butter in the boil which made the corn and potato super yummy. Needed to shell the jumbo shrimp by hand; a very messy meal indeed, but a real culinary delight.
Thursday, March 30 on our second day, Karen had to do some work in the morning. Later in the afternoon we drove to the Galveston Naval Museum at Seawolf Park. It is home to two Historic Naval Ships listed on the National Register of Historic Places and we toured both the USS Cavalla and the USS Stewart. While en-route we saw the USS Texas (BB-35) in a floating dry dock being repaired and restored. She is a museum ship and former United States Navy New York-class battleship. She was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.
We boarded the USS Stewart (DE–238) first and explored this Edsall-class destroyer escort, the third United States Navy ship so named. This ship was named for Rear Admiral Charles Stewart (28 July 1778 – 6 November 1869), who commanded USS Constitution during the War of 1812. The ship made me think of the movie, "The Enemy Below" with Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgen, a film I watched as a kid many times. We sat in the 3 inch forward gun mount and Karen was taken by how exposed and difficult it must have been to man that position at sea and in the elements. Not to mention being shot at during combat!
Later we boarded the USS Cavalla (SS/SSK/AGSS-244) (named for a salt water fish), a Gato-class submarine, which is a submarine of the United States Navy best known for sinking the Japanese aircraft carrier Shōkaku. Karen was amazed how "tiny" the spaces were and couldn't imagine the lack of privacy living in this confined space with the smell of BO, diesel fuel, lubricating oils mixed with cooking odors and the tobacco smoke of 6 officers & 54 enlisted aboard during a WW II combat patrol. Makes our RV seem like the Ritz Carlton Hotel!
We both left the museum with a profound appreciation for the sailors that served on these two vessels and the veterans of that great conflict. There is also an amazing memorial to all the submarine and personel losses - 52 submarines with 3,506 lost crew members during World War II.